Torture should be a crime

Torture should be a crime

Irrespective how it might be done, all sorts of torture or torturous action should be considered criminal acts, and be punished under the laws of the country.

Can anyone oppose the wish of anyone to possess a pet? No. But can someone own a pet for few months and then leave it to the streets when he is fed up, or going on holiday, or for some other “reason”? We have an awkward situation repeated every year.

First all, around July and August there is a surge in the number of street dogs in big cities. Gangs of dogs appear all of a sudden, and going out late at night, when the streets are otherwise deserted, becomes a real adventure. Remember the 60-year-old retired Iranian teacher Majid Yahyakhani who was bitten to death in the Eryaman district of Ankara in March 2012? Why do we have this surge in the number of stray dogs in big cities every summer? Simple, some “animal lovers” leave their pets in the streets in order to go and spend some weeks of the summer holiday at plush “all inclusive” hotels that don’t allow pets.

The other side of the coin is equally painful. Very dear animal lovers obtain pets while enjoying time at their summer houses. How long can working people stay at summer houses? Two, three, maximum four weeks. What then? They leave the “summer pet” to the streets and return to their big city residences, going back to their routine. The municipalities of summer resort towns – the populations of which mushroom during the summer months but deflate to a few thousand in the winter – struggle to find a way to cope with pets left on the streets by their summer guests. What a torturous love affair! Is this what they call love for animals? Is this what they say is humane behavior? Neither the municipalities of big cities, nor those of the summer resorts can fight this threat effectively on the streets, for humanitarian as well as legal restrictions. They (obviously) can neither kill those stray animals, nor can they allow them stay on the streets. Under existing regulations, such animals must be “captured” and placed in shelters and treated there. That’s no easy job.

There is absolutely a need to introduce a law to regulate this torturous “pet love” of Turks. As is said, love entails responsibility; it is not a free ride. If people want to have pets they must register them with the veterinary office of the municipality, a special dog tag or something should be issued, and the owner must be held responsible of the wellbeing of that pet under all conditions. Such a draft was on the agenda of Parliament, but because of objections from “animal lovers” it has not yet been legislated. If there are problematic sections of the draft, such parts must be improved and this torture must be ended.

Every day, early in the morning, first from one of the many loudspeakers tuned up to the maximum, an imam starts calling for prayer. As if that torture is not enough, almost simultaneously herds of stray dogs start howling from all directions. Soon, alarm sirens of cars join the cacophony, making it impossible to sleep. Is this not a torture repeated every day?

The worse is over for this year. During Ramadan there were drummers on the streets as well, creating all kinds of nasty noises to wake up people for sahur – the meal eaten before starting fasting in Ramadan. Traditions must be preserved, but in this age, when everyone has an alarm clock, is there really a need for drummers? Worse, on eve of Bayram, as if I should award him for not letting me sleep the entire month, the drummer was at the door demanding a tip. Torture of all sorts should be a crime…